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Abraham's Rechanneled Energy, Washington Post, Special Interests, Judy Sarasohn

11/03/05

Spencer Abraham is making good use of his experience as President Bush's first energy secretary. Along with two former top aides, he has set up the Abraham Group , an "international strategic consulting" shop.

The two former aides are Joseph McMonigle , who was chief of staff at the Department of Energy, and Majida Mourad , who was a DOE senior adviser on international affairs.

In case there's any doubt, the firm says its "major focus and specialization is the international energy sector." Abraham, a former senator from Michigan, is also on the board of directors of Occidental Petroleum.

McMonigle said he and Abraham have one-year restrictions on contacting department personnel or representing foreign interests; those limits expire early next year. "We're not a lobbying company, though that's not to say we won't do any," McMonigle said.

He declined to identify the firm's clients but noted that Cheniere, a Houston-based energy company, announced that it has hired the Abraham Group.

Shortly after the news became public, self-described wild man Jim Cramer issued a "triple buy" on Cheniere on his CNBC "Mad Money" show, calling it a "pure play on cronyism."

Though Cheniere's plans for two new liquefied natural gas facilities on the Gulf Coast need federal regulatory approval, Cramer is "betting with Abraham's help, the projects will go through" -- "Give it 18 months to 'work the Spencer magic,' " Cramer said, according to TheStreet.com's recap of his show.

McMonigle prefers his shop's highbrow brochure language to "pure play on cronyism," but says " 'Spencer's magic' isn't bad either."